John F. Kennedy photo

Joint Statement Following Discussions With Prime Minister Diefenbaker of Canada.

May 18, 1961

PRESIDENT KENNEDY and Prime Minister Diefenbaker stated that they had had a welcome opportunity of renewing the personal contact they established during the Prime Minister's visit to Washington in February and of examining together questions of concern to both their governments. Their discussions covered broad international issues as well as specific Canadian-United States questions.

United Nations. The President and Prime Minister stated their confidence in the United Nations as an organization dedicated to the peaceful settlement of differences and the defense of national and human rights.

Disarmament. They reaffirmed that the goals sought by both countries is a secure world order in which there can be general disarmament under effective controls. They agreed, in particular, that the negotiation of a nuclear test ban treaty with effective provisions for inspection was a basic step in the process of moving towards disarmament.

Defense. The President and Prime Minister examined certain aspects of U.S. Canadian defense arrangements and the international defense commitments which both countries have assumed, notably in NATO. They expressed the conviction that a strong defense must be maintained until such time as effective disarmament measures can be secured under proper safeguards. They agreed that it is more than ever necessary that the strength and unity of NATO be reinforced.

Western Hemisphere. The President and Prime Minister discussed the need for accelerating economic progress and social reform throughout the hemisphere, as well as the need to strengthen the strong hemispheric trend away from dictatorship and towards democracy. They recognized that these objectives are closely related. They were in accord that the alignment of a regime in the Western hemisphere with Communist leadership abroad was a matter for serious concern, threatening as it did the peaceful and democratic evolution of the Latin-American peoples. The Prime Minister assured the President of Canada's continued and increasing interest in inter-American affairs.

Laos. The President and Prime Minister examined the problem of Laos. They reaffirmed the objective of negotiating at Geneva a truly independent and neutral Laos. In this connection they examined the experience of the International Control and Supervisory Commission created by the Geneva Accords of 1954. They agreed that the development of and general support for effective control machinery represented a key element in a settlement of the Laos situation and an essential ingredient in achieving peace and stability in South East Asia.

O.E.C.D. Noting that both countries are now members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and are participating in the Development Assistance Group, the President and Prime Minister examined the continuing responsibility of their countries to assist underdeveloped nations. Both countries have had active programs of economic assistance to under-developed nations for many years. It was agreed that the new machinery would enable the policies and contributions of the two countries in this field to be more closely related than in the past.

Trade. The President and Prime Minister noted the efforts which their two governments had been making in the tariff negotiations in Geneva to work out satisfactory trading relations with the European Economic Community and exchanged views on how this broad objective of importance to both countries can best be achieved. They emphasized the interest of both countries in promoting employment and a general expansion of world trade.

To banish the scourge of war, to improve the human lot, to defend and to enlarge the area of freedom, to assist peoples less privileged than our own--these are aims that bind together Canada and the United States and which, with other allies and friends, our two countries will, jointly and steadfastly, pursue.

Note: The statement was released in Ottawa.

John F. Kennedy, Joint Statement Following Discussions With Prime Minister Diefenbaker of Canada. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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